You may be familiar with Elijah and 1 Kings 18. I want to talk about the life of Elijah as a picture of the forerunner ministry at
the end of the age, and the spirit of Elijah, the anointing and the purpose of Elijah being released upon the
people of God in this hour.
OPERATING IN THE MANIFESTATION OF SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY
Beloved, we need more than networking right now; we need authority. I’m not against networking; I like
networking. But so much of the energy and emphasis in the last couple of decades has been on networking and getting more people together in a room, whether it’s a conference or a church or a Bible school: networking people and getting them into containers. But
we need spiritual authority. In one sentence, we need to operate in the manifestation of spiritual authority.
I know we have authority by faith. That’s not the kind of authority I’m talking about. I’m talking about spiritual authority where, when we speak on the earth, angels move, demons move, and human hearts are unlocked. We need authority.
DOES HELL KNOW YOUR NAME?
In Acts 19:15, these men were casting out demons, and the demons spoke up and said, “Who are you guys?”
And they beat them up. The demons beat them up and tore off their clothes and threw them out. But here’s what
the demons said: they said, “Jesus we know; we’re absolutely terrified of Him. Paul we know, but who are you”
(Acts 19:15, paraphrased)?
I remember hearing a sermon years ago by a man who deeply impacted my life, Leonard Ravenhill. Actually it was just a paragraph or two in the sermon; it wasn’t even the whole sermon, but it deeply moved me. He talked about how he wanted to be known in hell, and he used that passage. Beloved, we need men and women who are known in the realm of the spirit. If you’re known in hell, you’re known in heaven by the angels as well.
“BECAUSE OF YOUR WORDS I HAVE COME”
We want the kind of authority that, when we speak, angels move. In Daniel 10, the angel appeared and told
Daniel, “When I heard your words, I came.” Here’s this Jewish boy, taken captive in Babylon, trained in the
schools for a life of devotion and abandonment to Yahweh. And this Jewish slave, in a foreign land, with no
authority of his own, spoke words on the earth and the angel said, “I came when I heard your words” (Dan.
10:12, paraphrased). When Elijah spoke, angels came. We want to speak words in worship, we want to speak
words in preaching, we want to speak words in ministry with one another. When we speak weak words from
our weak hearts, there’s an authority and an unction that looses the angels, that drives out the demons, and
unlocks human hearts.
We’re gathering in this conference because we have many things in common, but one of the things that we have in common—and I know this is true, or you wouldn’t have come to this website—is that we’re people who are hungry to operate in genuine spiritual authority. Not the fake stuff: not getting everyone in a line and conditioning them to do things. There’s so much going on in the Body of Christ where we condition them so that when they come to the ministry line they act a certain way, so we walk away thinking that we have power. But the people have just been preconditioned to act. I’m not terribly against that; I don’t really pay that much attention to it. But I’m not satisfied with it. I don’t want conditioned response in charismatic conferences. I want real demons to leave, real angels to show up, and real hearts to change.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS INVITING WEAK AND BROKEN PEOPLE ON A JOURNEY IN THE SPIRIT
We’re not interested in getting internet presence, or big conference; we’re interested in being known in hell. We want to be known
in the spirit. This is real. Because the kind of people who do this are nobodys in the world: they’re weak, they
have nothing to offer, and heaven pays attention to them. Heaven releases the mantle and the mandate and
authority, and that’s the only reason such people are ever known in history. They were nothing in and of
themselves. My point is this: you and I qualify. You and I qualify. I mean this soberly. I’m not interested in
having a pep rally; I’m not just cheerleading, I’m not trying to get everyone to shout and scream. I don’t care if
you do that here and there, but it’s not my point. My point is to convince you that the Holy Spirit is inviting
weak and broken people like you and me to go on a journey in the Spirit that ends with authority that makes a
difference on the planet before the second coming of Christ. That’s why we’re here; that’s why you’re here. I
don’t want to get really spooky and super-mystical. I don’t want to put on a charismatic show of mysticism. I
want people like you and me to have this confidence that we can do this thing because it’s in the heart of God.
That’s why we can do it.
ELIJAH WAS A MAN WITH PROPENSITIES AND WEAKNESSES LIKE OURS
Elijah was such a man. Now we kind of know him as the ultimate mystical man. We imagine him as being wild
and bizarre. But he started off as a young boy in a poor little village on a mountain. James the apostle in James
5:16 said, “Just in case you’re confused, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (Js. 5:16, paraphrased). He
was a man with propensities and weaknesses like you and I have. God made it really clear: Elijah was a man.
He was a little boy up in a mountain village in Gilead, an obscure little village named Tish. He was a Tishbite.
This was a poor, little village out in the hill country, among the Amorites of a foreign nation, with idols and sin
everywhere. He had no Bible school, no mentors, no prophets; it was an obscure, poor little town like
Bethlehem. And King David, who began as a young shepherd, was a man with a nature like you and me. He got
depressed, he got fearful, he longed for the move of God, and it didn’t come, and then it came, and then it didn’t
come again, and then it came, and then it lifted, and then it came again. He was perplexed; he knew what it
meant to do warfare, and he knew what it meant to lose. He even knew what it meant to win. He was like you
“BEHOLD, I WILL SEND YOU ELIJAH THE SPIRIT”
Elijah, like Paul the apostle, has become a man who’s so out of our category, so in another order of humanity, that now he’s not an encouragement to us. God put him in the Bible as an encouragement; he was “a man of like passions” (Js. 5:16, KJV). We’ve elevated him to the superhero status. So now his life doesn’t inspire us, because we say, “That was Elijah; of course he did it.” And it’s the spirit of Elijah; it’s the anointing and the purpose; it’s the lifestyle of Elijah that God is going to bring back again by the anointing of the Spirit before the second coming of the Lord.
A SUPERNATURAL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL IN THE LAST DAYS
1 Kings 18 is the famous chapter where Elijah confronts the religious institution of his day in power. Now it
was more than religious; they were fully demonized. It wasn’t just that they were believers who had gotten a
little cold and a little political; no, no, it was way worse than that. They were demonized prophets of Baal with
real power. There were 400 of one kind and 450 of another, making 850 altogether. Most of you know the story
here. And Elijah confronted them, and God visited with power. Look at chapter 18:24. This is the verse, like a
lot of the verses here, that really grabbed me. Here Elijah is addressing the 850 false prophets. He says, “Here’s
what we do: I will call you to a contest” (1 Kings 8:24, paraphrased).
Beloved, there’s a contest that the Holy Spirit’s orchestrating in this hour globally. It’s the same contest that Moses had with the magicians of Egypt. With the sorcerers of Egypt, Moses had a contest. Elijah had a contest with the false prophets of Baal that had real power. And there’s going to be a contest at the end of the age between real supernatural powers. Revelation 9:21 and about five other verses say sorcery is going to go to a level beyond anything it’s ever been in history. Sorcery, demonic power, will be manifest with false signs and wonders in this hour of history like no other time in history. The contest of 1Kings 18 is going to be relived in a global theater with the Holy Spirit orchestrating it. And He’s going to have men and women, young and old, with the spirit of Elijah, who will be vessels of power. It won’t just be the courts of Pharaoh with Moses; it won’t be centered in one place; it’s going to be a global theatre in which men and women with the spirit of Elijah will confront the powers of darkness, and there will be a clash of kingdoms with demonstrations of power. The stadiums of the earth are going to be filled. It will be a normal thing to hear of stadiums all over the earth filled for thirty, sixty, and ninety days at a time. I mean twenty-four hours a day for ninety days. No one will even organize it. It will be something like this; on Monday afternoon some little eighteen-year-old student from college is going to pray and a blind eye will open for someone on the campus. Say that happens at noon. By about 6:00pm, there will be around 2,000 students gathering, and a few paralytics will be healed. They will go through the night, and the next morning there will be 14,000, 15,000, 20,000 gathering. It will be a hoopla; no one will know what’s going on. And by 7:00pm on Tuesday evening, the stadium will be packed.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO ADVERTISE A FIRE
You know, one of the interesting things about Jesus is that He never called a meeting. He didn’t do what we do
and send out fliers. You don’t have to advertise a fire. We only have to advertise because we don’t have the fire
yet. But we’re going to get the fire. When we get the fire, we won’t send out brochures. This is like the pre-fire
stage: we’re gathering together because we want to encourage one another because there’s not a lot happening.
I’m not being negative, because I appreciate what the Lord is doing in our midst. I love what He’s doing in my
midst, but it’s not even close to the things that He’s promised. We only have to advertise because we don’t
really have the fire. Jesus never had to call a meeting; massive numbers showed up.
Well, anyway, it starts on Monday at around noon with one blind eye; by 6:00am the next morning it’s spread to 20,000, and by 7:00pm we’ll be at Arrowhead Stadium. There will be 80,000 on the inside and about 40,000 on the outside trying to get in. It won’t be like the hotshots get together and rent the stadium. I’m not against that; I’m the hotshot guy, you know. Renting big auditoriums and doing what we do. But it won’t be that kind of thing. I’m not against that, but that’s the old way and we want to phase out of it.
And all of a sudden the Spirit of God is going to be manifest in power in cities, and it will go for thirty, sixty, ninety days; no one can say when it’s over. When it’s over, it will be over. And, knowing us, we’ll probably show up for another month even after it’s over. That’s not entirely bad; part of that is just hunger. And the Spirit will lift and we’ll build the churches and then a year or two will pass, or however long, and He’ll do it again. And He’ll gather the church back into the stadiums again. No one gets to vote on it; it’s not like the old man says, “I don’t like that stadium thing, it hurt my church calendar.”
The Lord will say, “I’m not asking your permission; hundreds of thousands are gathering, and I’m not asking anyone’s vote on it. I’m the One doing it.” God is going to gather the churches in the stadiums for seasons and visit them with power for twenty-four hours a day. Then the Spirit will lift, they’ll go back, and they’ll build the community of God and it will look very different than anything it looks like at the moment.
IN YOUR GRATITUDE, DON’T LOSE YOUR VISION FOR THE FULLNESS OF GOD
Beloved, I love what’s happening right now. I’m not against what’s happening right now. I want to be grateful. I don’t want to despise the day of small beginnings. I want to honor our small beginnings, because it’s still the Lord. I want to be grateful and I want to honor them. But in my gratitude, I don’t want to lose my vision for the fullness of God. I want to be grateful today for the little things we have: these little conferences, the “littles” of the Spirit, the little swirls in the Spirit that sometimes break in. I’m thankful for those, because without them, we would die. But I’m discontentedly content. I’m content with gratitude, but there’s this tremendous hunger in me for more. I say, “This can’t be it! There must be more!” And that’s why we’re gathering. We have a cry in our spirit for authentic authority, real authority. That’s why you’re here. We’re hungry to go on. We want to move this thing to the next level.
THE BACK-AND-FORTH OF BEING WOOED AND RESPONDING TO GOD
Now we can’t do it on our own; we know that God does it. But God does it through wooing us, and then we
respond, and then He responds to our response. It’s the Lord who woos us, and that’s what He’s doing in us in
these days. But we have to say yes to the wooing. See, He woos His people and many of His people say, “No,
I’m too busy.” “No, I don’t want to bother with it until it’s already broken through. When it breaks through,
then I’ll jump on.” And the Lord is so kind, He lets them jump on, but beloved, He’s wooing people today.
We’re responding, and then He’s going to respond to our response. He’s going to respond to our response. And
He’s going to release the fullness of what He has in His heart. But right now He’s wooing us: He’s giving us a
vision, all through this whole room, to live lives of prayer, to enter into spiritual authority, to have words that
release angels and drive out demons and unlock human hearts.
We’re hungry; you’re in this room because you’re hungry. Somewhere through the Holy Spirit and the Word you’ve become convinced, there must be more! Something has convinced you that there must be more. That’s why, if you want to put a gallon of gas on a little, flickering fire, you read John G. Lake books; you’ll be ruined. Through the years, I’d give a stack of them to a key guy or gal and I’d say, “Hey, read these; they’re only a hundred pages each.”
I’d come back a week later and their eyes are really big; they’re saying, “Oh no, oh my goodness, I’m ruined!”
I say, “Got ya!”
You don’t need to read biographies for that, but God has given biographies for that purpose. But anyway, you’re here because you want to enter into the spiritual authority. Elijah is one of the people in the Bible whom God has given by the Holy Spirit as a picture of what operating in the anointing will look like at the end of the age.
THE LORD INVITES US TO A GLOBAL CONFRONTATION
Look at verse 24: “Then you will call on the name of the Lord your God” (1 Kings 18:24, paraphrased). The contest is on. Beloved, there’s going to be a global contest. Elijah says, “You call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God” (1Kings 18:24). Elijah had this idea that he was going to build an altar and that God would answer by fire. Now, notice what’s happening. I already mentioned how the Lord told Elijah to build the altar. It starts with a divine invitation. Elijah can’t just go and build an altar on Mount Carmel one day. Elijah’s out doing what he’s doing in chapter 17, and the Lord gives him an invitation. The Lord woos him; He invites him to a certain activity. Elijah now says yes, and he responds to the divine invitation; he responds to the divine wooing, and the Lord will respond in verse 38 to Elijah’s response. In verse 38, the fire fell. The fire fell.
THE SEASON OF BUILDING THE ALTARS
Beloved, a lot of us are in 1 Kings 17; we haven’t got there yet. We’re going to go there in a moment. We’re in the preparation stages. Some of us are in a different season. The Lord said, “Go build an altar. Go build an altar and wait on Me for fire to come.” Some of you are building an altar right now, and that’s what we’re talking about: building an altar that can receive the fire of God. Not very many people in the world are in verse 38. There are some revivals breaking out over in Asia, especially in China, where the fire is falling. In a few places in South America, it’s falling a little. And the reason I say “a little” is not in any way to undermine what’s happening; it’s a lot more than what’s happening here. But beloved, God has something in store so dynamic, so far beyond anything we’ve ever seen, or anything John G. Lake ever did.
THE PEOPLE FALL DOWN ON THEIR FACES WHEN THE FIRE FALLS
So the fire fell. “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces” (1 Kings 18:39). Their hearts were
moved; their hearts were unlocked. Have your read Piercing the Darkness? Oh, I would
love to see Frank Peretti’s version of this. Between verses 38 and 39, angels and demons would warring it’d be awesome.
We only see the human response but I’d love the Lord to pull back the veil between verses 38 and verse 39.
THE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER IS SIMPLY AN ALTAR FOR GOD
In my life, I’ve got one foot in 1 Kings 17, in preparation. I’ve got the other foot in 1 Kings 18:24.
The International House of Prayer is simply an altar for
God. We believe that He’ll answer with fire. We’re building an altar for a reason: we’re building it because we
believe He’s going to answer with fire on the altar that we’re building. Now, He told us to build it. It starts by
divine invitation. God gets the credit. When it’s all said and done, there’s only one trophy case in heaven, and
it’s got the name Jesus. It’s not my idea to build a house of prayer. It’s not your idea. God gives the invitation;
we stumble around for a few years saying, “What does that mean?” Well, it means just what it said; go and do
it. We do it; there’s a season of labor, there’s a season of resistance, there’s a season of difficulty. The enemy
resists, the enemy resists, the enemy resists. We’re building an altar, and when you least expect it, the
“suddenly” of God breaks in and the fire falls on it and the people fall down on their faces when the fire falls.
Then you can throw your mailing list away; you won’t need it. You’ll have to have a whole new class in crowd control: cities will be disrupted, nations will be disrupted when this kind of stuff happens. And then all kinds of other things happen after this happens.
WAITING FOR THE SUDDENLY OF GOD
Now God wants many of you either to be prepared to build an altar in the days to come, or to be actively
building one now. It just depends on what season you’re in. Some of you are in chapter 17; you’re waiting by
the brook. We’re going to go there in a moment. You don’t have anything to do. Elijah was waiting by the
brook for a year. He said, “OK Lord, I’m here; it’s been a year. Come on.” And eventually the word of the Lord
comes. He was waiting for about three and a half years. Then God said, “Now you have come for such a time as
this. Go and build an altar, for My fire will come.” Beloved, this suddenly of God is coming. “The Lord will
suddenly enter His temple” (Mal. 3:1, paraphrased). It’s the suddenly of God in fullness: He will suddenly,
suddenly, suddenly enter His temple. And in one day everything in Israel was different, in twenty-four hours
after 1 Kings 18 was over.
We’re building the International House of Prayer; we have a few hundred staff members, we love God, and God loves us. Every now and then we have an anointed prayer meeting. We have a lot of bad prayer meetings. It doesn’t matter. I mean, some of the prayer meetings I’ve gone into, I was a little depressed, and I walked out totally depressed after the prayer meeting. That’s bad. What’s worse is, I’ve gone into some of our prayer meetings happy and I left oppressed. I know about un-anointed prayer meetings; I’ve led thousands of them. But the pay is the same whether you raise the dead or take a nap; the pay is the same if you do the will of God. It really is. I mean that. My goal isn’t to make them anointed or not anointed; my goal is to keep building the altar, keep building it, and one day the suddenly of God breaks in and what we thought was un-anointed and what we thought was anointed will seem like almost the same thing. Because what we think is awesome will seem so small when the fire falls.
So someone says, “How was the conference?”
“Well, you know, I like the conferences; it’s good enough.”
“Was it awesome?”
“Well, it was good enough. I’ll do another one. It’s not what I’m living for.”
ELIJAH IS A PICTURE OF THE FORERUNNERS AT THE END OF THE AGE
I’m in the build-the-altar stage. Beloved, I have a vision for the fire falling. God wants to bring the spirit of Elijah. Elijah is a picture of the forerunner ministry. He’s a picture of the forerunner ministry at the end of the age. It’s a massive subject. God took one man and made him the picture of forerunners. Many of you in this room are called to the forerunner ministry in the spirit of Elijah, and the life and the calling and the purpose and anointing of Elijah will become a very personal thing to your life and destiny. And right now, you can’t imagine it. You’re just like Elijah was: this poor boy in this little mountain village of Tish, in Gilead, living among the Amorites, in this foreign nation right next to Israel. I mean, it was a part of Israel, but the Amorites were occupying at that time. The enemy camp was running it. It was an oppressed, poor, little, out-of-the-way mountain village. He had no idea that he was “Elijah.” I mean, his mom said, “Hey, Elijah, come here,” and that didn’t mean anything to him. When his mom named him Elijah, that was meaningless. Now we name our children Elijah, and it means a lot because of him. But when he was named Elijah, it just meant, “poor boy in Tish.” He’s a picture of the forerunner ministry.”
THE KINGDOM . . . SUFFERS VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE
Number two; Elijah is a picture of spiritual violence. Beloved, we’re going to talk about spiritual violence:
taking the kingdom by force. And when I say force, I don’t mean volume. I like volume, but volume isn’t
exactly what I mean by violence. Some people think violence means volume, or a worship service with a fast
beat. And it might have a fast beat, but that’s not intrinsic to what spiritual violence is. I like volume; I like it
louder sometimes, I like it softer the other times. Sometimes I get in funny moods, and I don’t know what I like
from one time to the next. But he’s a picture of spiritual violence, and I’m not talking about volume. I’m talking
about a life of abandonment to prayer and fasting. I’m not talking about a temperament; I’m not talking about a
personality trait of being an exuberant extrovert. I’m talking about an inward heart response in abandonment in
prayer and fasting to God. He was a man of violence.
John the Baptist was a man of whom the angel Gabriel said, “He comes in the spirit of Elijah” in Luke 1:17 (paraphrased). He had the anointing of Elijah. He was a man of spiritual violence; that’s what Jesus said (Mt. 11:12). He came in fasting and prayer like Elijah did. You know why Elijah had spiritual authority? Because he was a man of spiritual violence. Spiritual authority is related to spiritual violence. There are other factors in the equation; it’s not only about spiritual violence, because there are some other things as well. There’s the sovereignty of God; there’s the mercy of God. There are a number of things. But spiritual violence is part of spiritual authority.
SPEAKING OUT OF THE REALITY OF OUR SECRET LIFE IN GOD
Elijah and John the Baptist were voices, not echoes. When they spoke, they were speaking out of the reality of their secret life on God. It wasn’t just memorizing a text and echoing it. Something was alive when no one else was there. They were speaking with life, with reality, from their secret life in God. When you read the Old Testament or the New Testament, Elijah is presented primarily as a man of prayer. More than as a prophet, more than as miracles, first and foremost, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Spirit sets Elijah before the people of God as a man of prayer. John the Baptist was set as a man of prayer above all things in the Scriptures. When you read the life of John the Baptist, that’s what strikes you first. There are a lot of people who want spiritual authority, but they don’t want to wrestle with the reality of living in spiritual violence. He’s a picture of the forerunner, and he’s also a picture of spiritual violence. He was a man of prayer and fasting.
“MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS”
Beloved, God is calling the end-time church to have a core identity as the house of prayer. This will be the core identity of the church of Jesus: “I will call you the house of prayer” (Isa. 56:7, paraphrased). That’s the core identity of the church of Jesus at the end of the age. We operate in spiritual authority; we’re people with anointing in prayer. When we pray and worship, it moves the heart of God. When we speak over sickness, angels and demons move. When we speak to people, hearts turn. We’re people who are moved and who move others by spiritual authority. We’re people of prayer. Call it worship, call it healing, call it evangelism; it’s all prayer at the end of the day. You’re speaking and God, angels, demons, and humans are moved by your words. The core identity of the redeemed community at the end of the age is a house of prayer.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS IS THE HOUSE OF PRAYER
Now lots of cities like Kansas City have got a ministry called “the house of prayer,” and in some ways that’s cheating, because the
house of prayer isn’t a little “on-the-side prayer ministry.” The house of prayer is the church of Jesus at the end of
the age. We’re just a little catalytic ministry trying to throw a little cup of gasoline on the church in our city. We
don’t have that much to throw on, but, we’re doing our part. The house of prayer is really the church of Jesus.
God is raising up people all over the earth who are awakening to this reality of prayer. I mean, it’s happening rapidly. We’ve gone from less than 1 percent of the Body of Christ interested in prayer, twenty years ago, to the point where probably up to about 5 percent of the Church cares about this. That’s massive! That’s massive!
In the last twenty years, you know what’s happened? I’m just making up the number; there have been maybe
500 to a thousand books on prayer. It’s exploding worldwide. I said, “What is happening?’
The Lord says, “I’m waking up the Church.” We’ve gone from about 1 percent to about 5 percent who care about this. Beloved, it sounds like I’m being critical. That’s stunning to me. There are millions who care right now. Millions! But beloved, we’re at the beginning; we’re at the beginning of a Holy Spirit invasion, a glorious Holy Spirit tornado that’s about to come in, in the midst of the Body of Christ, and so rearrange everything before it’s over. The whole Church will love prayer before it’s over. The whole Church of the earth will be called a house of prayer for all nations. The whole Church will command demons to come out; the whole Church will command cancers to leave. The whole Church will speak and angels will come. The whole Church will worship and the heart of God will be moved. The whole Church will operate in the anointing with one heart and one spirit, and the heavenlies will open. It’s called spiritual authority.
ON THE FRONT END OF A TIDAL WAVE OF REVIVAL
“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isa. 56:7). Let’s say it differently: “My house shall
operate in spiritual authority.” That’s what that means: “They will worship under the anointing.” That’s prayer.
“They will pray for the sick under the anointing.” That’s prayer. “They will speak words to the lost and the lost
will be saved.” That’s called prayer. Our very sermons will be intercession. Our very sermons will be an act of
intercession. Revival will come; we’re at the beginning of a tidal wave crashing in on the Church in the next ten
to twenty years; thirty years if the Lord tarries. Prayer is going to invade, and you’re on the front end of this
Now granted, I know that most of us in this room said yes in our spirit. We don’t like it yet, but we’ve said yes. But that’s massive; that’s massive. You don’t have to like it yet, but you’ve said yes. The reason that you’re in this room is because it’s the same thing. You might have called it being a worship leader, but it’s all prayer. It’s
the spirit of Elijah. We’re going for it.
BE A PART OF SOMETHING THAT WILL SHAKE THE WHOLE PLANET
Turn to 1 Kings 17. Beloved, I have such a passion in my life for me personally to build an altar that God answers with fire. I can’t make it happen, but I’ve already been invited; I’ve been given divine instructions. But I’m not happy for me alone to build an altar that God answers with fire. That, I’m sure, is going to happen. I don’t want to sound cocky in foolish, prideful, human confidence. But I want to say, I’m positive that God is going to answer with fire what I’m doing in my labors; that I’m sure of, and the whole earth will be shaken by the things that we’re doing in this city. I’m not saying that to make some big statement. I’m saying that because I know this is what God is calling many of you in your cities to be a part of. And I dare you to say yes and to throw your heart into that thing and to be a part of something in your city that shakes the whole planet together with the whole Body of Christ.
GATHER TOGETHER WITH OTHER BELIEVERS AND BUILD AN ALTAR
I want to dare you; I want to challenge you to say, “God I want to build an altar in my city. I don’t know who the people are; show me who they are, that I may build it with them.” Don’t worry about the who right now. The big thing that God wants to put in your spirit is the idea that He wants you to build an altar that He’ll answer with fire. He wants you to gather together with some believers and begin to do the activities of the kingdom in a way that He’ll answer with fire at His appointed time. And when it’s all said and done, the fire goes forth from your city and ours. It’s not like we’re all going to be together in a big macho club saying, “Ooh, that’s the fire that came out of Cleveland.” And, “Ooh, that’s the Kansas City fire.” It doesn’t work that way, because the fire that’s coming will make the people of God meek and tender and lowly. It will produce hiddenness. So I’m not trying to have some big bravado about, “Hey man, we’re men and women of God here. You wait and see, I told you so.” That’s not what I’m doing right now. We’re weak and broken people who have received a mandate from the Lord, and we believe it. And we lose it sometimes: we lose our spirit of faith and conviction. And when a couple of us lose it, a couple of others have it, and we strengthen one another, and that’s how it’s built. We give up just enough here so that when the fire does come, we’ll all look at each other and say, “Hey, I know you quit three times.” And the Lord is organizing it just that way.
“ELIJAH THE TISHBITE, OF THE INHABITANTS OF GILEAD”
1 Kings 17:1. Look at this: “Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead” (1 Kings 17:1). He came from this
little mountain village called Tish, which was part of Israel, but at that time was being occupied by the
Amorites, this idolatrous, wicked nation that hated God. There were no good churches, there was no good
worship music, there was no campus ministry; Elijah was just a young boy in this poor town.
“And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab…” Now Ahab was a very, very wicked king. Go to the chapter before, 1 Kings 16:30. And it says this: “Ahab did more evil than every king before him” (1 Kings 16:30, paraphrased). And then again in verse 33: “Ahab was the most evil king in the history of Israel” (v. 33, paraphrased). Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, murdered the prophets. Ahab was in agreement with murdering the prophets. Ahab was a demonized man who worshiped idols, who burned his children as sacrifices to demons, who financed demonic, idolatrous sex orgies in worship of demons and killed anyone who resisted him. Ahab was a seriously wicked man.
And Elijah confronted this man. Think of the profile of a man like Hitler or Stalin. We’re talking about an evil man. He’s an evil man who hates, who kills people if they love God. He worships demons; the whole nation must worship demons or they’re killed if they resist him. “
AS THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL LIVES, BEFORE WHOM I STAND”
Elijah stands before this very, very wicked king. Here it is, beloved; this is what gives me hope. He gives his
only credential right here. “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain
these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1b). His only credentials are this: “I stand; I have a prayer life in
the presence of God.” Elijah is standing before this very wicked, powerful man; all the nations around them
feared this man. Elijah comes out of nowhere. He hasn’t written any books, he has no ministry, he has no
following, he has no résumé, he has no money, and he says, “Hey most powerful king in this region of the earth,
you wicked, wicked man, I have something to say to you. I have a prayer life. And out of my prayer life, I stand
before the God of Israel. And out of my secret life in God, out of my intimacy with God, I have something to
say to you and all the kings of Israel.” Beloved, this is intense.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO WE ARE, BUT WHOM WE STAND BEFORE
Now, because we know Elijah’s famous and we know the end of the story—he’s taken up into the whirlwind—
we say, “Well, Elijah’s supposed to do this.” But remember, this is Elijah’s first assignment.
Ahab says, “Who are you anyway? Where are you from?”
“Where’s that? Gilead? Don’t they have phones in Gilead?”
“No, we don’t have phones or TVs there yet.” It’s a poor little mountain village.
“You’re from Gilead and you’re telling me that the judgment of God is going to hit my nation. I’m a mighty king. Who are you, anyway?”
He says, “It doesn’t matter who I am; what matters is the One I stand before.” What a word!
That’s the very word that John the Baptist used in John 3:29: he said, “I’m a friend of the Bridegroom; I stand and hear His word. I stand and hear the words of God” (Jn. 3:29). Those are the very words of Elijah. He says, “I’ve got a secret life, I’ve got a history in God. My confidence isn’t in me; it’s in Him. I don’t have any confidence in my strength. I’ve taken the very best of my strength and I’ve invested my being into prayer and fasting. I’ve leaned into His strength.”
WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY IF I DON’T RECEIVE IT FROM HIM
Beloved, God is raising up people who stand before God. You’re taking the best of your strength and you’re
using it to spend your life in fasting and prayer. And what are you doing? You’re leaning into His strength. He
says, “That’s how I stand; I stand before Him. I don’t have anything to say if I don’t receive it from Him.” What
a powerful statement of the ministries at the end of the age.
He says, “Here’s what’s going to happen, by my word: I’m locking up the heavens in the natural.” And beloved, we will lock and unlock the heavens in the natural and in the spirit. We will unlock the heavens in the spirit over geographic areas through prayer. When these gatherings take place in the stadiums, we will cause such an impact by the grace of God that the heavens will open, and the angels will ascend and descend when the
heavens open (Jn. 1:51. It’s going to be people like you and me gathering together in little prayer meetings, and the heavens are going to open at our word, in the natural and in the spirit. What an amazing thing.
THE WHEAT AND THE TARES WILL MATURE TOGETHER AT THE END OF THE AGE
Elijah is fearlessly confronting the most evil king in the history of Israel. He has the authority to open and shut
the heavens. One other point that I want to make right here is that in Elijah’s secret life, as his life of prayer is
growing, the nation is growing more and more in sin. Beloved, in the nations, two things are happening at the
same time. The dark is getting darker, and the light is getting lighter. Two things are going to happen
simultaneously: the wheat and the tares will mature together at the end of the age. I want to say that again. The
wheat, the church of Jesus, will mature; we will have unprecedented power, purity, and unity. But while we’re
maturing to an unprecedented level in the Spirit, the tares will be maturing and the unrighteous will reach
heights of unrighteousness that will surpass Sodom and Gomorrah on a global dimension. What Sodom and
Gomorrah was in one region is what will be happening on planet earth around the globe. And what happened in
the book of Acts in the early church will be profoundly greater worldwide in the church of Jesus Christ. The
wheat and the tares are going to mature together.
SEASONS OF SHOWING AND SEASONS OF HIDING
In 1 Kings 17:3, the word of the Lord comes to Elijah and says, “Get away from here and turn away eastward,
and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan” (1 Kings 17:3). He says, “Get away and hide
yourself.” Then three and a half years later, in 1 Kings 18:1, He says, “Go show yourself” (1 Kings 18:1,
paraphrased). The word of the Lord comes in 1 Kings 17:3: “Go hide yourself” for one season. Three and a half
years later, the word of the Lord appears and tells him, “Go and show yourself.” Beloved, there are seasons
when you hide yourself and there are seasons where you’ll show yourself. Both of them are critical. For three
and a half years of hiding in chapter 17, he was preparing himself to build the altar when he showed himself in
Some of you are in a “Go and hide yourself” season. Others are in a “Go built an altar and show yourself” season. And the seasons change. I’ve been in both of those seasons a few times: four, five, ten years at a time. The Lord says, “Go hide yourself.” The Lord spoke to me in 1976, in my first profound prophetic experience. He said, “Go hide yourself. Go develop a history in God. Go get a prayer life. Go hear My voice. Go and encounter Me.” I don’t want to go into the details of that right now, because that’s not important. What’s important is, those seasons come. And there are seasons when the Lord says, “Now, go show yourself.” Then He says, “Go hide yourself again.”
Look at what he does in verse 4; he goes down to the brook and God commands the ravens to feed him. Now, it’s kind of a neat thing that God gives supernatural provision. I mean, we use this verse really romantically: “Well, God provided supernaturally! He commanded the ravens to feed him!” But what do you think the ravens are bringing? Double cheeseburgers with fries? I mean, eww!
Elijah sits at this brook for twelve months. “I’m here Lord, hello, hello!” One month, two months, three months, four months, five months go by. “Lord, I thought a few years ago You told me that I was going to do something really, really important.” The raven comes every day, morning and evening. He’s sitting on a rock. I mean, it’s OK to sit on a rock from noon to 2:00pm in the afternoon, but we’re talking all day, every day. This is a time of a fasted lifestyle. He’s living a life of fasting and prayer. I mean, his diet is pretty intense in the negative sense. It’s possible that John the Baptist had an upgrade, eating locusts and honey. Who knows?
Verse 4 is an intense season of fasting and prayer. No ministry; no one’s knocking on his door. No healing, no miracles, no sermons. He’s hiding himself and it goes on after this happens. Do you know what happens in verse 7? The brook dries up! He’s down there and Elijah says, “Lord there’s no more water, there’s a drought. I’m getting thirsty.” And he’s down in the south part of Israel.
God says, “Now go to the north part” (1 Kings 17:9, paraphrased). So he goes up to the north and spends a few years there, doing the same thing: living a very simple life of waiting on God. He’s still hiding himself.
DON’T TRY TO SHOW YOURSELF IN THE SEASON OF HIDING
A bunch of people have joined our IHOP-KC staff; there are a few hundred of us who do it full time. They’ve
raised their own support, like missionaries. We call them “intercessory missionaries.” Some of them came here
to start their ministry. They said, “I’m coming because I want to get into this conference thing. I hear they have
some pretty neat conferences. I want to get launched into conferences.”
And the Holy Spirit is saying, “No, I told you to go there to hide yourself. I didn’t tell you to go show yourself; I told you to go hide yourself.” And when you’re trying to show yourself but you’re in the season when God said, “Hide yourself,” it really gets ugly. How many of you have ever tried to show yourself when you’re in the season of hiding? At the same time, it gets really ugly the other way, too: when it’s time to show yourself, but you try and hide, like Jonah. This is what happens in Song of Solomon 2: the Lord says, “Arise and come to the mountains!”
And we say, “No! I don’t want to go!”
The Lord says, “You’re going to wish you had said yes.”
Beloved, regardless of whether you take a nap or raise the dead, the pay’s the same. It really is: doing the will of God.
DON’T JUST DO THE PROPHETIC, BECOME THE PROPHETIC
There are all kinds of dynamics at work in chapter 17. I don’t want to go into all this. I’ll say this, and then
we’ll close. The prophetic ministry is pictured by the spirit of Elijah at the end of the age. Elijah was a picture in
the Old Testament of the forerunner ministry of spiritual violence and prophetic ministry at the end of the age.
Let me tell you this: we can do the prophetic ministry. We can do it. Doing it is what a lot of people are focused
on: speaking prophetic words and doing prophetic acts. Doing and speaking. They want to do the prophetic
ministry. The Lord has something higher on His heart: He wants you to be it, not just do it. He’s interested in
you becoming prophetic, not doing the prophetic. And He’s going to call you into the lifestyle, not 100 percent,
but in the same principles as Elijah. He wants us to embody the values of the kingdom. He wants us to be
something, not just do something. And it’s easy to come to a conference, and we’re going to teach you
principles. Principles are important. We’re going to teach you some really practical models of healing. We want
to demystify the mystical to the degree that we can. We want to equip the saints to demystify, to identify some
of the lies and dismantle them, and show you that everyone can do the stuff of the kingdom.
But than what happens is that people become focused on doing the prophetic ministry, or doing the healing ministry. And God wants us to be the prophetic ministry. He wants us to embody it. Now this may throw some of you off, but I say it in a measured way; I say it and I stand my ground. I won’t be moved on this statement, I know it will be disruptive to some of you; but I believe that I’m speaking from the heart of God. The very essence of the prophetic spirit of Elijah is a life of prayer and fasting. You study the life of Elijah, you study the life of the man who followed him, John the Baptist, and you study the lifestyle of the forerunners at the end of the age throughout Scripture, and you find that they’re supremely men and women of prayer and fasting. You can do the prophetic without prayer and fasting, but you’ll never be the prophetic in the way that God intended without embracing the grace of prayer and fasting.
It’s a radical paradigm shift in the Western world. People will go anywhere to learn how to do it so they can get the stuff going. And God says, “I’ll let you do it, even before you become it. But My heart is that you would be it.” And there’s an anointing on the Word; you can live a superficial life in the Spirit, because there’s an anointing on the Word, and there’s an anointing on compassion that if you speak the Word and you have compassion, things are going to happen even if you live superficially your whole life in the Spirit. You can do the healing, you can do the prophetic, but God says, “I want you to do that, because there’s an anointing on compassion; there’s an anointing on the Word. But I’ve got something more than you doing it. I’d rather you be it.”
But it’s going to take everything that you are to be it. You go to the high places; you enter into the grace of Elijah. I don’t fully know what that means, but I know that at the very center of the kingdom of God is the grace to pray and fast. It’s the norm of the people of God to be people of prayer and fasting. That’s such an odd statement in this hour for the church in the Western world. It’s the biblical norm for the leaders to live lives of prayer and fasting. It’s absolutely normal in the biblical paradigm of the kingdom of God. It’s so odd today that when one group does it, people say, “Well they think they’re this, that, and the other.” No, beloved, it’s normal prophetic ministry in the kingdom of God—the spirit of Elijah.
THE MOST NEGLECTED REVELATION IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
The core identity of the Church is people who operate, again, in spiritual authority, who live in this reality. The
most neglected revelation in the Body of Christ is the revelation that God releases strength and power through
prayer and fasting. It’s clearly the most neglected revelation in the kingdom. You read right through the book of
Acts: Acts, 1, Acts 2, Acts 3, Acts 4, Acts 5, right through to the end. It’s prayer and fasting, prayer and fasting,
prayer and fasting. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, Moses, Daniel, were all men of prayer and fasting, prayer
and fasting, prayer and fasting, prayer and fasting. Peter, James, John, John G. Lake, Bernard of Clairvaux, John
Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, were all men of prayer and fasting, prayer and fasting, prayer and fasting. And then
you get to the twenty-first century church and people say, “Now, what’s the deal? Why do we do that?”
I believe before it’s over the primary leaders in the body of Christ will all be men and women with the grace of prayer and fasting. Right now very few of the leaders have that grace. Before it’s over, they’ll either get it or it will be entirely reversed. I’ll prophesy this, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to prophesy this, because it’s so biblical. It doesn’t take a special revelation to prophesy this. The leaders who are leading the Body of Christ when the Lord appears, whether they’re twenty or eighty, the vast majority, with possibly a few exceptions, will be men and women with the grace of prayer and fasting. Right now in Asia that’s become a very normal thing, but in the Western world only a very small percentage have that grace, and they’re odd. And the theologians have got all these arguments as to why that’s this, and why that’s that, and why that’s whatever. It doesn’t matter, because all that matters is what heaven thinks about it, and there’s going to be a great change, and before the Lord appears, with a few exceptions—I’m certain of this because it’s just the Lord’s way—the vast majority of the people in leadership will live this lifestyle. It’s going to be a great turn around.
THE GREATEST TRAGEDY IN AMERICA TODAY
And the Lord is whispering to you right now; He’s wooing you. He’s saying, “Why not jump in now? Why wait
ten, twenty, thirty, forty years? Why wait until you’re replaced? Why wait until I give your place to another?
Why not just listen now and jump in?” It’s the most neglected revelation of the kingdom of God, that God’s
way of strength is released not only, but profoundly, through prayer and fasting. And the fact that this grace
doesn’t rest upon the church of America is the greatest crisis we’re facing. The greatest crisis in America isn’t
9/11 and the significantly worse things that are coming. Thus says the Lord, “Significantly worse things are
coming in America. Tragedies in far greater numbers.” But those are not the greatest tragedy. The greatest
tragedy in America is that the church of Jesus Christ is being led by men and women where the vast majority
have no grace for prayer and fasting. And that’s a disaster for the church and for America. That’s a very sober,
very heavy word.
When you get, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, 100,000 men and women in this nation leading multitudes who have this grace, beloved, we’re going to enter into the glory of God and the promise of God, and we’re safe. This is the spirit of Elijah. This is what God is calling His Church to become. God is raising up men and women in the spirit of Elijah. We care about spiritual authority! We want angels to move, demons to move, hearts to turn! We don’t care about religious alliances. The amount of time spent in developing religious alliances takes the best of our strength, because we need strength to keep moving around, keeping the religious network going. It has no power. No cancer will leave, no angels appear, no demons tremble by these alliances. They’re not in and of themselves the problem, I believe; I’m in some networks, and I’m not against networks. But we give the best of our time and strength to networking at one level or another! There are many ways to define what networking is. We spend the best of our strength cultivating one another’s favor. We spend the best of our strength cultivating one another’s favor instead of the favor of God. We’re pampering one another’s fears. “I don’t want Brother So-and-So to get disrupted; I’ll make him feel this.” We pamper one another’s fears. We keep one another happy.
Beloved, we need to be preoccupied with being men and women of authority who live in spiritual violence. I love relationships in the kingdom of God, but I want to give the best of my strength to having my spirit anointed by God so that I can bring the deliverance, so that I can bring the blessing of God to broken people and love them by bringing blessing and deliverance to them from heaven.